BUG: Artist Sort not being properly observed

I am viewing Albums “Sorted by Artist”.

The Artist “Pierre-Laurent Aimard” is listed under “P” alongside “Rebecca Pidgeon” etc. despite the fact that the Artist page being set to list him under “Aimard, Pierre-Laurent”.

See screen prints.
This is unexpected behaviour. I’d appreciate if you could have a look into this.

Hi @bbrip,

So we can better understand what you’re seeing, would you kindly share the following with us:

  • The Browsing Sorts section of Settings > General
  • A screenshot from the album showing the Album Artist and Primary Artist Link


  • Browsing is set to “Last Name”

Here two of the Albums sorted incorrectly for Aimard. There are more.

NB: I just discovered other artists where this happens. Let me know I should post those as well

to further elaborate on this, I discovered that also Esa-Pekka Salonen is not sorted correctly. He Shows up under “E” instead of “S”. The communality between him and Aimard: Both their first names are separated by a hyphen, ie: “Esa-Pekka” and “Pierre-Laurent”.

My strong guess would be, that the bug is somewhere hidden in the treatment of this hypen.

Hi @bbrip,

When using the Last Name sort, there’s a bit of subtlety here that makes this a bit different than you might expect.

There are a couple ways that artist data can be associated with an album. One is the Album Artist field. This is a text field that basically means “the artist name as it appears on the album cover”. When you sort by First Name, essentially this means sorting by the “Album Artist” string “as is”. The Album Artist field is just a string of data, there is no understanding of first name vs. last name here.

Last Name sort, on the other hand, requires a bit more understanding. The Artist field (**Primary Artist Links under Edit Album) isn’t just text — It’s a rich object that we have a deeper understanding of, including first and last names. When you’re sorted by last name, this artist object is used for sorting.

So, in order to see why Roon is sorting the way it is, for one of these albums we need to see Primary Artist Links field under Edit Album. Can you share an example of this?

Hi @dylan, not sure I understand all you write above but I guess you mean this screen:

This gets sorted under “E” like Esa-Pekka instead of “S” like Salonen.

If I have an Album-Artist entry, lets say for “Simon Rattle / Berliner Philharmoniker”, then that gets sorted correctly under “R” like Rattle.

Thanks for that screenshot, @bbrip. That’s exactly what I needed.

With that screenshot it definitely looks like something isn’t working as expected. I’ve passed a ticket along to our QA team regarding this and will follow up once I have their feedback. Thanks for letting us know!

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Okay, I got a work around figured out. The issue, I think, is with the album artist field and a combination of the hyphenated first name along with two artists. If you go and add and album by Esa-Pekka Salonen that is just that artist, the last name sort functions correctly. In the case of the Stravinsky, editing and removing the other artist “Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra” does nothing and is not necessary to correct it.

Going to Album Artist, click the Edit your own, click the copy icon and then remove " / Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra" , Save, and it will sort correctly. ( The same proceedure also corrects the Pierre-Laurent Aimard issue with Nikolaus Harnoncourt)

Like So:

And then you get this for Album by Artist Last Name:

@Rugby Well figured, I found that out as well, :sunglasses: Its a workaround but not a solution.

There is someting wrong generally with hyphened names. They get all sorted wrong as soon as they get combined with another artist - which is of course very common.

If you combine artists with non-hyphened names, all is fine.

This should get fixed for good.


@dylan, @mike,

Any news on this?

I started a similar thread on this yesterday, except that in my case, there is the same single person’s name in the Artist & Album Artist spaces, so this workaround doesn’t apply.

What would be interesting to know is this…

Taking my cue from the way it’s written in Roon, where it says “LAST-FIRST SORT NAME”:

I entered my sort preference thus: Olivetti-Conny

If hyphenated names are an issue here, perhaps “LAST, FIRST SORT NAME” & “Olivetti, Conny” would be a better thing for Roon to be looking for, so that Roon isn’t being triggered by the hyphen?

(This of course comes with all of the usual “what the hell do I know?” caveats! :rofl: )

The MusicBrainz style guidelines are pretty comprehensive:


In your example, is the artist’s name not “Conny Olivetti”? In which case the only correct sort name is “Olivetti, Conny”.

It is, except that I tried that & it wasn’t doing anything.

Also, because the actual type on the Roon edit page is shown with a hyphen (as opposed to a comma), I wondered if the hyphen was what Roon was looking for, so I changed it.

And that wasn’t doing anything either.

However, this morning there was an update & once Roon had restarted, it was all fixed & things were where they were supposed to be, so I suppose maybe Roon just needed a good old fashioned “turn if off & on again”.

Case closed. :slight_smile:

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That’s odd, but glad it’s now working for you.

@joel Yeah, it was late. My hard drive was probably tired. :rofl:

It’s actually a fairly common thing for me that, even though the data is entered into the tags correctly & Roon sees it for most albums, I occasionally get one where I can do all the stuff (force the album to re-save in Yate, remove it from Roon, clear the caches, restart Roon, add the album back in, etc. etc.) and Roon just stubbornly refuses to see the tags I’ve entered & insists they’re not there.

Obviously this was not a tagging issue (apart from the fact that, surprisingly, Conny Olivetti doesn’t seem to be in Roon’s database) but even so, Roon sometimes seems to just have a mental block I have to force its hand.

Actually he is: we pull him from MusicBrainz.

It’s possible that your volume of edits is grinding down Roon; it was never designed to be a curation engine and edits were originally intended just to clear up issues here and there. Bear in mind that when you make an edit, any metadata associated with that edit loosely or otherwise (e.g. an edit to Miles Davis potentially affects every Miles Davis album) gets queued for reprocessing. It could be that it got stuck or was still in the queue, and restarting the Core bumped it.

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That would certainly add up.

I do spend almost all my spare time editing my library which I’m aware does colour my user experience compared to someone who uses it as intended.

So that means that, in theory, that I should be able to remove my edit & Conny will still sort correctly.


Er, we might have a bug there. Fortunately, I’ve been working in that area of code, so I’ll take a look tomorrow.